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Dota 2

ALWAYSWANNAFLY and Iceberg Test Positive For COVID

Patrick Bonifacio

Ukraine-based Dota 2 team Natus Vincere confirmed Saturday morning that Andrii “ALWAYSWANNAFLY” Bondarenko and Bogdan “Iceberg” Vasilenko would not attend the Singapore Major. This is due to both Na’Vi players testing positive for COVID-19, rendering them unable to participate in the tournament.

NaVi.Iceberg at StarLadder

After having two players test positive for COVID-19, Na'Vi have been forced to make changes to their Singapore Major roster. (Photo courtesy StarLadder)

The news comes just days after Na’Vi released joint statement committing to attendance at the Major. Along with eight other teams, Na’Vi made it clear they were not concerned about health regulations surrounding the tournament. In a cruel twist of irony, it now seems those same rules will keep two of their players away from the Major.

Reinforcements on the Way

Na’Vi did not provide details in their press release about both players’ test results. According to them, the rules set by ONE Esports and PGL state that players who test positive cannot attend the event. This same rule applies to players that recover from the virus.

As a result, both players will have to miss the event entirely. Definitely a crushing blow to these two in particular, knowing the hard work they put into qualifying for the tournament in the first place. While neither player is considered a greenhorn, they will miss out on valuable tournament experience nonetheless.

Instead, Roman “RAMZES666” Kushnarev (formerly of Evil Geniuses) and Andrey “Mag” Chipenko will stand in for them. Mag is especially notable, as he is the current coach of the Na’Vi Dota 2 squad. He also played under the Na’Vi banner back in 2010, before becoming a journeyman in the CIS region. RAMZES, on the other hand, emerged a few years ago as perhaps the best carry player in the region itself.

This is auspicious news for Na’Vi—especially with the knowledge that the event is just a week away from the time of writing. Of course, there will be team chemistry concerns for them to worry about, but this is the best outcome under the circumstances. Whether or not this change will translate into success or failure in Singapore, though, remains to be seen. If nothing else, they will at least have a shot at earning some prize money and some vital Dota Pro Circuit points.